SHASTA COUNTY, Calif. – Our season premiere of the Tank of Gas Getaway kicks off with a tour of the Lake Shasta Caverns.
Almost anywhere else in the world, you can enjoy a boat ride, take a scenic bus tour or visit a cave.
But as NBC5’S Scott Gee discovered, nowhere else in the world can you do all three, all at once.
Here’s the official name of the place you’re about to visit: The Lake Shasta Caverns National Natural Landmark. A lot of paperwork went into getting that designation. But it’s ok to just call them the Shasta Caverns.
No matter what you call them, they are spectacular, and not just the caverns themselves. The journey to them is just as exciting.
“The cavern tour is about two hours long,” explained Matt Doyle, the General Manager of Lake Shasta Caverns. “It starts with a boat ride across the McCloud arm of Shasta Lake, roughly about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the lake level. Once you get across to the other side, you’ll board a bus. That bus takes you up a 17% incline to the entrance of caverns about a two-mile road it takes you about 850 feet above Shasta Lake to the entrance of the caverns. About an hour inside guided tour where we learn about history, geology and some interesting aspects of the cave that you don’t see a lot in other caves.”
And Matt isn’t kidding about that stuff you won’t see anywhere else. He said, “There’s a number of sea fossils located throughout the cave both inside and outside because it is limestone and was formed at the Jurassic sea 250 million years ago.”
Tour guide Ranger Dave said, “You can actually look at the side of the mountain you can see how fractured it is. It shows you how the water is getting inside. We call that volcanic intrusion.”
Wear good shoes, there are over 650 stairs to climb. “So you do get a workout which is perfect if you’re on the road, been sitting in the car for a couple of hours, wanna stretch those legs, this is the perfect opportunity for that,” Matt said.
Want to make it an adventurous date night? Combine the cave tour with a dinner cruise on the lake. “So those are on Friday and Saturday evenings,” Matt explained. “Buffet-style menu with tri-tip, chicken, shrimp and a whole slew of sides. We designed it so when you walk off the boat, you’re waddling!”
You only need a reservation if there are 20 or more of you in your group. School field trips are always welcome. In fact, students can get deeper access into the caverns. Purchase your tickets online or on sight. Visit http://www.lakeshastacaverns.com.